- Submitted Photo
- Her Again
"Female drummers wanted."
That's what Claudia Ferme remembers posting to Facebook in 2015 after getting inspired by the Bloomington music scene and deciding she wanted to start a band.
And her call was answered: She met Jordan Gomes-Kuehner at a house show in town, and the two became Bloomington's all-girl garage rock group Her Again. After Indiana University sophomore Megan Searl joined them and completed their lineup in early 2016, they started performing in basements and bars across town.
With Ferme on lead guitar, Gomes-Kuehner on drums, Searl on bass and each contributing vocals, Her Again's sound fluctuates somewhere between flirty surf-punk and doo-wop.
We stopped in to see them on a Saturday night at the Blockhouse in Bloomington. Her Again takes the stage, Searl's bass plucking the opening riff, drawing listeners scattered around the bar closer to the stage. In matching rose-embroidered outfits, they open with the catchy, self-conscious theme "It Doesn't Matter."
"I was so worried 'bout the things I said that night, about my clothing and if my hair was done right. I think I 'caused myself unnecessary fright, but it doesn't matter."
With no prior songwriting experience, Her Again started out playing Bikini Kill and The Cure covers in basements across Bloomington. They laugh when thinking about the early days of Her Again, when they were first finding their voice as writers and musicians.
"It was kind of a rough first half of the band," Ferme says. "I really appreciate the people who stuck by us and kept coming to our shows."
"The best compliment we get is when people tell us how much we've grown and gotten better," Gomes-Kuehner agrees. "We've definitely come a long way."
- Submitted Photo
- Her Again
After lots of practice, it wasn't long before Ferme started writing and recording pop songs for the group. While they highlight prominent female artists like Angel Olsen and Hinds as songwriting inspiration, they don't confine their music to one specific sound.
"When I listen to Claudia's songs it's hard to pinpoint the influence, because it doesn't really sound like anything in the scene," Gomes-Kuehner says. "There are pop sensibilities there, but we're not trying to sound like any weird indie subgenre or anything."
For their upcoming spring break, the ladies will head out on their first regional tour with shows in Indianapolis, Chicago and Detroit.
They credit the local music scene for most of their inspiration and support, with inspiration born and bred in house shows around town. Ferme says the personal aspect of Bloomington's music scene has been a big component of their success.
"The house show scene here is really what gave us this opportunity," Gomes-Kuehner says. "There's a lot of support, there are lots of opportunities to play. If we wanted to play a show every weekend we could do it."
Two years after their cover days, Her Again have become motivators for budding musicians around town, especially young women. Gomes-Kuehner remembers feeling that same sense of inspiration when she first got involved in the Bloomington music scene during her freshman year. It's a coming-of-age cycle that she likens to a right of passage.
"It's really cool that we can inspire other people to play music, because that's what inspired me," Ferme says. "If it's something that you really want to do you just have to keep doing it, and you can't let people discourage you."
"If somebody says you're going to go see a band, everyone kind of assumes it's gonna be a bunch of lanky, tall, indie white dudes," Searl says. "I'm so tired of that same formula. There are so many wonderful female musicians in my life, and I know so many talented women who just get dismissed."
"Whenever you put yourself out there as an all-girl band playing shows in the male-dominated scene, you know that you're not just doing it for you," Gomes-Kuehner says. "You're kind of doing it for all girls."
"And don't ever let anyone tell you how to make your art or that you're not good enough," Searl agrees. "Fuck everybody else; just keep doing you."
Her Again will play on March 10 at Fountain Square Brewing Co. with Jeron Braxton and Five Pound Snap.